The cloud strategies have become one way in which companies provide better service delivery. Businesses can shake off the need for expensive hardware and utilize cost-savings, service, and security features that previously only bigger companies with full-scale IT departments could afford.
It provides a paradigm shift that lets smaller companies compete with giants. So, if you’ve not yet migrated at least some IT functions to the cloud, maybe it’s time to move forward.
What to Consider When It Comes to the Cloud
SMEs often don’t fully take advantage of cloud computing. Decision-making almost exclusively comes from the top, and CEOs of small and midsize companies tend to delegate IT decisions. There’s a problem with this approach. Cloud strategy isn’t really an IT strategy; it’s a business strategy.
That’s why business leaders should change how they think about the cloud. Wavestone US – an IT consulting company – says this about their approach:
- Every situation is different, and an approach must be tailored to fit the situation as well as the client’s culture and management style.
- Collaboration between clients and cloud providers yields the best solutions.
- There are no preconceived solutions; creativity by clients or cloud providers adds value.
You need to make a mental shift, and consider what’s best for the company rather than your IT department. If you haven’t yet made the shift to the cloud, if done right it can amplify your productivity and competitiveness.
If you’re not yet using cloud-based technology, you’re already on the back foot compared to competitors. Your IT manager won’t think like you. She’s thinking of technical specs, like how much bandwidth and data storage you need to support the people using your system. When thinking about the cloud, look at staff productivity, market share, efficiency, and profits. Those are what matters when it comes to cloud migration.
And don’t think of the cloud as a place, but rather as a strategy. It doesn’t just help you store data or access email. It saves you money and creates efficiencies, so your company can concentrate on what it does best, and so it can grow.
Benefits of the Cloud
Let’s consider how the cloud can benefit your business. Remember that you’re investing in strategies rather than reacting to emergencies. Here are some things the cloud can do for your business:
- Reduce the time it takes to develop, build, and test prototypes, moving core products and services to market faster.
- Increase profit margins and competitiveness by saving money on in-house IT, along with purchasing, staffing, and security.
- Improve IT security without outlaying for infrastructure.
- Streamline monthly billing by using a single provider, lowering costs for both your accounting and IT departments.
You’ll need to look at migration from the perspective of how it helps your business. This might not be straightforward, so don’t hesitate to seek advice, as input can help you make the right decision.
Your Business Goals
Consider what you need. Ask questions and dig for information, weighing the pros and cons offered by the providers or consultants you approach. And seek out recommendations from people who know what you need. Some objectives you might have for the executive might be:
- Quick delivery
- Marketplace differentiation
- Revenue & gross sales
- Cost savings
These are what affects the business directly. Your customers rely heavily on product delivery, particularly with your specialties, so any disruption here affects sales and revenue. Keep that in mind when considering costs, because often you pay for what you get.
It goes without saying that your IT department must be involved. But they’ll look at cloud migration differently, for things like:
- Operational simplicity
- Cost savings
- Service access
- Skills access
- Adoption of emerging technology
The simpler your system, the less that can go wrong. Less downtime and greater access to skills and services your cloud provider offers can greatly benefit how smoothly and seamlessly your IT system works for the whole business. It’s a bonus too if they have a line on emerging technology that can benefit your business in the long term.
Effects on Other Departments
And of course, you’ll need to consider how this affects other departments:
- Shared access and collaboration
A slow IT system, or one that suffers from significant downtime, can affect other areas, like sales and marketing, HR, or accounting. If your cloud system limits access, or hinders rather than helps your employees work together, you should look elsewhere. It’s important to ensure that a cloud provider can provide exactly what you need.
For example, with COVID 19 it’s important to consider how a cloud provider can help employees work remotely. Knowing what costs and features they provide for VPNs is vital at the moment. You may even realize cost savings, as you’re no longer having to maintain an office. But be careful, because cheap VPN networks often aren’t reliable. And security needs to be considered, as hackers can get into anything, including smartphones and tablets.
Create a Plan
Once you’ve established your objectives and determined what systems, technologies, and processes to migrate, you need to create a plan and execute it. Work with your new cloud provider, and strike deals to ensure you’re getting exactly what you need. Some things to consider:
- Availability & Reliability: Downtime costs your business money; ensure they’re reliable and have plans for continuity in case of mergers or acquisitions.
- Data Integration: Ensuring your applications and their infrastructure work seamlessly to maintain data access.
- Enabling Technology: Make certain appropriate technology like eNote or eSignature available and adequate to support your needs.
- IT Skills & Roles: Look at what your IT people provide, and compare that to what your provider can do.
- Security & Compliance: it’s important to know your customer information is safe, so make sure they’re servers have top-notch security.
When you identified risks in each of these areas, prepare plans and take quantifiable measures to mitigate the risk before there’s an actual threat. In this way, your cloud computing will work for you, your employees, and your business.
Petr is a serial tech entrepreneur and the CEO of Apro Software, a machine learning company. Whenever he’s not blogging about technology for itechgyan.com or softwarebattle.com, Petr enjoys playing sports and going to the movies. He’s also deeply interested in mediation, Buddhism and biohacking.